Scientific Name:
Chionochloa Zotov (1963)
Vernacular Name(s):
Snow grass; Snow tussock

Perennial tussocks, solitary or occasionally sward forming; branching intravaginal or sometimes extravaginal. Leaf-sheath long persistent and clothing shoots, entire or fracturing into irregular segments, glabrous or with internerve hairs, tuft of hairs at apex. Ligule a ring of hairs usually c. 1 mm. Leaf-blade 5 cm to 1.5 m long, glaucous, flat to V-shaped, or junceous, persistent or disarticulating at ligule or falling with part of sheath, abaxially usually glabrous, occasionally hairy, adaxially prickle-toothed or papillate, rarely unornamented, margins usually long hairy below. Culm to 2 m, erect, exceeding leaves. Inflorescence an open or compact panicle of few to many spikelets, glabrous to conspicuously long hairy, usually with long hairs at branch axils. Spikelets of few to several ☿ florets, disarticulating above glumes and between florets. Glumes unequal, linear, acute or rarely awned, usually glabrous; lower 1–3-nerved, upper 3–5–7-nerved. Lemma (7)–9-nerved, nerves anastomosing below sinus, lateral lobes awned or triangular-acute, densely hairy on margins and in columns in all, few, or no internerves; central awn straight or reflexed from twisting, flat or indistinct column from sinus. Palea > lemma sinus, keels ciliate, interkeel infrequently prickle-toothed, flanks long hairy below. Callus short, blunt, hairs long covering lemma; disarticulation oblique. Rachilla usually glabrous. Lodicules 2, irregularly rhomboidal and lobed, nerved, margins long hairy especially apically. Stamens 3; anthers caudate, shorter in male-sterile flowers. Gynoecium bistylar, ovary glabrous, < lodicules. Caryopsis free, obovate, smooth or rugose; embryo ⅓-½ caryopsis length; hilum linear, ½-⅔ caryopsis length. Fig. 16.

[From: Edgar and Connor (2000) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 5 (second printing).]

Indigenous (Non-endemic)
Number of species in New Zealand within Chionochloa Zotov
Indigenous (Endemic)23
Connor, H.E. 1991: Chionochloa Zotov (Gramineae) in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 29: 219–283.
Mabberley, D.J. 2008: Mabberley's plant book, a portable dictionary of plants, their classification and uses. Edition 3. Cambridge University Press.
Zotov, V.D. 1963: Synopsis of the grass subfamily Arundinoideae in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 1: 78–136.